New building will create badly needed space at Ivy Tech, where enrollment has surged

Ivy Tech will get badly needed parking and study space.
More places to park, a bigger library and more room to stretch your brain.

Those are the goals for Ivy Tech Community College, which hopes to solve a number of crowding issues by building a new facility at its bursting Indianapolis campus.

Ground was broken Monday on a $10.4 million parking and academic building at 27th and Illinois streets -- the first new construction on campus in more than 24 years.

What began as a mere parking garage project a few years ago grew into a four-story building that will house a new campus library on the ground floor and include new computer labs and study pods for more than 25,000 students.

"I really see this becoming the academic heart of the campus," said Jessica Placke, who heads the campus library system, which now occupies a small corner space in a building on campus. "This new space will be three or four times the size of what we have now."

Students will have a new home to do research, gather in study groups or get tutoring in math, reading and computer skills -- the most requested needs of the student body.

"We are literally on top of each other half the time," said Dale Kinney, who heads the student government association.

The new building is scheduled to open by October.

Ronald Reagan was president the last time ground was broken for a new building at Ivy Tech in Indianapolis. The Glick Technology Center was built from 1986 to 1988 along Meridian Street and is now home to classrooms and student services.

Ivy Tech President Tom Snyder envisions this new project -- and another project already under way a block to the southwest -- as key components of an "education corridor" that will one day stretch from the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus north to Ivy Tech and then up to The Children's Museum.

"This is how we can change lives," Snyder said. "This is how we can make Indiana great."

The 229,000-square-foot, four-story building is expected to be built by October on land between Illinois and Meridian streets, and 27th and 28th streets.

Also under construction is a $39.5 million classroom building scheduled to open in January 2012. It will be built on the site of the former St. Vincent Hospital. Demolition work is under way, but the building's historic facade facing Fall Creek Parkway will be retained.

Kelly Hauflaire, a spokeswoman for Ivy Tech, said demolition crews are ahead of schedule on that project and should be done tearing down the old portion by May.

"In the coming weeks, you will see them get closer and closer to the facade area," Hauflaire said. "And the demolition company is recycling 80 to 90 percent of all the materials. Some of the old brick will actually be reused in the new construction."

U.S. Rep. Andre Carson joined officials with the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation at Monday's announcement.

The project is being funded by two sources: Fairbanks awarded the school $3.8 million, and the federal government is providing $6.6 million -- money that was first aggressively sought by Carson's grandmother, the late Rep. Julia Carson.

"My grandmother got the ball rolling," Carson said in his remarks. "She knew that Ivy Tech provided hope for people in her district."

One key component of getting that federal funding was the inclusion of a new hub for IndyGo buses. Current bus-stop locations on Meridian and Illinois likely will be moved to a hub at the new building, making it easier for bus-riding students to make connections.

Ivy Tech's Central Indiana enrollment grew 42 percent this semester to 25,000 students.

Over the past five years, the current buildings have become cramped as student population has increased 120 percent, making Ivy Tech one of the fastest-growing community colleges in the nation.
Ivy Tech community college
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